Meanwhile, on the eighteenth floor…

Under the stress of the moment, Commissioner Holbeck’s speech patterns are starting to reflect some of his experience prior to becoming a Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner. It’s not a major plot point, just some character background, but I like to at least have a reason why one guy seems to have a better handle on things than the others trapped with him. You are invited to guess.

Got word that the Owl books are shipping now! I got a few of the print versions myself, and they look terrific. Brash Books did a nice job.

More below!





In the previous week’s commentary a reader had asked asked about the writing of this comic, and since that’s actually sort of a convoluted process, it would probably be best if I just used this bloggage to toss random tidbits week by week until an overall picture emerges. I will start by saying that there is always a complete script written prior; beginning, middle, end, all that good stuff. And on this page you can kind of tell, because the script — and the initial thumbnails for Max’s art — were roughed out almost two years ago, back before smartphones became as ubiquitous as they are now. Yes, things change that fast.

Of course, Max could have easily changed the design while he did the final art for this week, but it was mutually agreed that A) a slab-style smartphone just doesn’t shatter as well, and B) this was a City-provided cellphone for a low-ranking cube dweller and as such, it isn’t likely that they’d be giving him something that could stream Netflix. There will be other, personal cellphones showing up in the story soon enough, and we’ll make sure they’re more modern. This one, however, needed to smash satisfactorily. So flip-phone it was.

And although I may have written the initial script myself, that only gives me absolute license to change the dialogue as I see fit. Especially if it generates more art-concealing word balloons. 🙂

Actually, for this page, most of the dialogue is as originally scripted – except I’d scripted Holbeck saying something weak like “Can you get us out?”

Well, that wouldn’t do. Not if I wanted to at least hint at some sort of training in his past. Jargon was needed. So I switched it to “Request immediate evac.” I was pleased with this, until some last-minute Googling indicated that the phrase “Immediate Evac” is, in fact, generally found only in video games and Starship Troopers movies. I was going to switch it to “Priority Evac,” but it appears that – while “Priority” is a legitimate evac ranking – it means something like “We’re pretty uncomfortable and speed would be appreciated but we can hold out a while.” Whereas “Emergency” means “We are probably gonna die real soon here.”

To make matters worse, it seems that every single organization that has Evac Rankings maintains their own listing order, and even that seems to change over time. So while I probably could have gotten away with “Immediate” I ultimately went with “Emergency Evac.” Jargon. Who knew it would be so complicated?

Fortunately, to go along with Max’s art, I also got to throw in lots of smoke effects and a few sparks (which is fun for me) and Max enhanced these with some nice lighting and color techniques, so it is hoped that we’re really starting to establish (as the story progresses) just how screwed these people are.

I’ll have more next week — but don’t want to give too much away before then! By the way, if you’re enjoying our efforts, an upclick on TWC would be vastly appreciated! Thanks so much!

— Bob out

Artist’s Notes:

If any readers are curious about the coloring process I used to create this week’s artwork, I encourage them to visit my storefront and check out the latest video I’ve uploaded, which kinda spills the beans a bit about how I’m able to pretty much pull it off in a few hours’ time.  From black and white to finished artwork.  Here’s the link: